Northern Health Care’s new Certified Physician Assistant, Beth Hill, has been drawn to medicine since she was a young child. She vividly remembers visiting the A.T. Still Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO where she grew up. Still came up with his theories of osteopathic medicine, wellness, and disease prevention in reaction to the archaic practices of the mid-1800s “I remember as a young person learning who A.T. Still was and being drawn to learn as much as I could about medicine and care for the whole person,” Hill said.
Still’s vision was a strong motivator for Hill when she found her own career path. “One of the key teachings that A.T. Still brought about was treating the mind, body, and spirit. Hands down, that’s the foundation of who I am,” said Hill. What excites her, she added, is treating patients in an urgent care or primary care setting. She hopes that patients will come to her with issues such as diabetes and hypertension, for example, and through discussion, they’ll be able to “bring a better balance into their lives.”
Hill received her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2009 from A.T. Still University in Arizona – a satellite school to the original A.T. Still University and Museum that motivated her to pursue medicine in the first place. Directly out of college, she had the opportunity to work for a well-known Phoenix cardiologist. She decided to go a different direction, however. Rather than make the “lucrative” choice and be “pigeon holed into one specialty,” Hill said she wanted a broader knowledge base. “I wanted to have a wealth of knowledge to give to people, a lot of depth of experience from different specialties.”
After working in urgent care and family medicine for six years, Hill was drawn to oncology, because she had quite a few close family and friends who died of cancer. She enjoyed that specialty practice for awhile, she said, but she wanted to come back to family medicine and walk-in/urgent care. Most recently, she worked at Mountain Communities Healthcare District in the Trinity Alps, an area recently affected by the Carr Fire.
Hill seems to have settled in easily to Northern Medical Clinic, which combines family practice with walk-in/immediate care services. Her compassionate, safety net approach to medicine is welcome in this rural community. She is motivated by “being able to help people with small emergencies” such as sutures and wound care. She already has ideas of additional clinic services she hopes to provide in the future.
And, while the “science of medicine . . . is the backbone,” Hill said, her “passion is for people to be healthy, to live life to the fullest, to build families – it’s such a joy and honor to take care of each member of a family.”